Commercial dispute between shareholders

This case involved a shareholders dispute over a six-figure sum. Adopting an adversarial approach common in litigation and arbitration, lawyers initially presented a fine-combed contract as ammunition. However, when the parties were invited to give their stories, they backtracked to an earlier negotiation which broke down. As the setting was on neutral ground and the mediators were impartial, the parties felt comfortable to bring to the fore their issues of trust and communication. The mediation session helped allay the suspicions felt on all sides, and sufficiently restored the shareholders’ relationships so that they could get back on track with their previous negotiations. Initially, one full day had been set aside for the mediation session. However, because the parties were amiable people, they were able to restore their  relationships, identify interests and even generate some options by lunchtime. They were then able to discuss the terms of the agreement over lunch. A settlement agreement was quickly drawn up within an hour. The parties and their lawyers left shortly after. Said one shareholder after the session, “I am very thankful that this dispute was settled so quickly and fairly. I think our positive attitudes helped, and also the way the mediator didn’t make any judgement and listened to all sides.” Disclaimer: Some names and identifying features have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.